Interprofessional Engagement in Rural Settings: Innovative Dpt + MD Collaboration in the Clinical Learning Environment


Interprofessional education (IPE) is a widely endorsed strategy to prepare future health professionals for the changing and complex landscape of healthcare, in which increased teamwork will be necessary to address provider shortages, geographical access disparities, and the rise of value-based care models. In the clinical learning environment, rural healthcare sites provide an ideal setting for collaborative practice training given the smaller, interconnected teams focused on providing patient-centered care in aging and increasingly complex populations. Scholars have therefore urged educational leaders and practitioners to examine IPE training in rural settings to support curriculum and program development. The purpose of this presentation is to share an innovative model for intentional interprofessional collaboration in the rural clinical learning environment with full-time Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) Medical Doctor (MD) learners.


Faculty and staff from one large UniversityÕs DPT and RPAP programs collaboratively designed and implemented a required, multi-component interprofessional engagement and reflection assignment for identified pairs of co-located DPT and RPAP learners in the rural clinical learning environment. This multi-week experience includes both interactive and reflective elements with shared learning objectives framed in Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competency language.


Mixed methods assessment via an online post-engagement survey examines the impact on studentsÕ perceived interprofessional competency attainment, their understanding of roles and teamwork in a rural setting as an approach to influence health care and outcomes, and their perceptions regarding their future clinical practice in collaborative, rural environments. Students also reflect on overall lessons learned from their interprofessional engagement and are invited to provide feedback regarding the experience structure and process. Presenters will share results for pilot year data, which demonstrate learner benefit and support continued development of this opportunity. Lessons learned and next steps to expand the focus on team science in IPE training in rural settings will be discussed.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

Innovations to promote excellence in physical therapy education support the pursuit of the Quadruple Aim of healthcare. Training future healthcare providers to consider the health needs of ALL populations in the authentic context of the practice environment contributes to the global vision of improved population health outcomes over time. Interprofessional engagement and reflection in the rural clinical learning environment fosters professional development in understanding the roles and responsibilities and teamwork needed, with an explicit focus on the values and ethics of care management in underserved populations. DPT and MD collaboration will be essential as healthcare models shift to address disparities in rural provider access, so this training must begin now.

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  • Control #: 26635
  • Type: Platform Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Sara North
  • Keywords:

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